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The Big Reveal Bloghop

The Big Reveal Blog HopMina and David are hosting The Big Reveal blog hop today so that folks participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge can share their themes together. I was already planning a post about my theme and why I picked it, so finding this hop-within-a-hop was perfect timing.

Last year was my first A to Z, and like most things that challenge me, I had a love-hate relationship with it. It was amazing meeting so many new blogger friends, many of whom I still chat with regularly in the blogosphere, but writing new blog posts every day nearly put me down for the count. If I was going to participate again, I had to do things differently this time.
 
Well, Jocelyn, why don’t you write your posts in advance like the sane people do? *falls to the ground laughing hysterically* Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.
 
Besides the rampant and appalling procrastination, I think my biggest issue last year was I made things too complicated. My theme was actually six different themes, one for each day of the week. The variety was supposed to keep things fresh for both my readers and me, but it ended up keeping me from finding a blogging groove. I also put a lot of unrealistic pressure on myself that every post had to be hysterically funny and deeply insightful at the same time. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen either. 
 
So I needed a simple theme, but the clock was ticking and I couldn’t think of anything. Then a few weeks ago the 15 Minute Tweet Tales word of the day was contronym, which is a word with multiple definitions that are the opposite of each other. For example: dust can mean to remove fine particles (dust the furniture) or to add fine particles (dust the cookies with sugar). 
 
Despite my love of words, I’d never heard this term before, and it kind of blew my mind. I mean, how weird is English that we have words (turns out quite a lot of them) with meanings that are complete opposites AND we actually have a word to describe that illogical phenomenon? Fascinating! Well, at least it is to this word nerd. Speaking of word nerd, here’s my tweet tale using the word contronym: Tiger was excited to hear he was being fixed, thinking his stolen claws were being replaced. Poor kitty didn't know about contronyms.
 
As I hit up my old friend Google for more info about this new-to-me word, I found several lists with example contronyms. A whisper at the back of my brain pointed out that the words seemed to be covering a considerable span of the alphabet. I felt a thrill – could this be it? Had I finally found my theme? With more research, I found a contronym for every letter but two. Close enough! I’ll just have to be creative on those two days. 
 
I’m really excited about my contronym theme. I’ll get to explore more about this concept that has captivated me, and the posts should be relatively simple. Each day I’ll post a contronym and its contradicting definitions plus something fun to illustrate them – it might be pictures, maybe a tweet tale, perhaps a very short story, or any other ways I find to get creative. I hope you’ll drop by during A to Z to revel in word nerdiness with me.
 
But if that’s not enough to entice you back, then how about cute doggie pictures? Like last year, each day I’ll feature one of the Rish family dogs displaying the letter of the day. They’re too cute to miss! To give you a sneak peek, here’s the video I put together last year for the A to Z Video Challenge:
 
 
 
The Blogging from A to Z challenge is tough but rewarding, so if you’ve never participated before, you really should try it. Click here to sign up. Hope to see you around the alphabet in April!
 
Are you participating in the A to Z Challenge this year? If so, are you going with or without a theme? Care to share your theme? Have you already written your posts?

 

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The WoodsThe sweet and talented Adriana Ryan tagged me in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, which is a fun way for writers to wax poetic about our books without seeming completely narcissistic. I’m not being a crowing parent, you see, I have to talk about my baby because I was tagged. So brace yourself as I get my brag on.

What is the working title of your book?

Ha, starting with an unexpectedly tough one. For the longest time, the title has been The Hunt because it works on many different levels, but I got feedback that it was too generic. So I’ve been floating The Drama Queen Who Cried Wolf for about a year with mixed results – some people love it, others say it has to go. Since most of the docs still have The Hunt, I guess I’m sticking with that until something brilliant hits me in the shower.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Three of my high school friends were also ‘Christmas babies’ like me, so for our 18th birthdays, we had a joint video scavenger hunt party where all of our friends divided into teams and filmed ourselves completing silly tasks my dad had concocted from his warped mind.  It was a blast and one of my most vivid high school memories, so I thought it would make a fun story – but with murder and mayhem thrown in to spice things up, of course.

What genre does your book fall under?

YA Thriller/Mystery

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

The actors I originally pictured as my characters have aged out in the time I’ve been dawdling with the rewrite, so I hit up IMDB to see if I could find some new candidates.

Brea (the protagonist) would be played by Allie Grant (Lisa on Suburgatory).

Tegan (Brea’s nemesis) would be played by Kat Graham (Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries).

Kylie (Brea’s best friend) would be played by Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss from The Hunger Games).

Caleb (Brea's crush) would be played by Jeremy Sumpter (J.D. from Friday Night Lights).

Ryker (Brea's main suspect) would be played by Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy form The Vampire Diaries).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

After the body she discovers in the woods disappears, sixteen-year-old Breanna must prove it was not the product of her overactive imagination, but rather the handiwork of a killer who plans to silence her.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope to be represented by an agency, but I'll self-publish if that doesn't work out.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

It was my 2007 NaNoWriMo novel, so it took me a month.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I have to admit I've been slack for a while about reading in my genre, so I don't really have any current titles for comparison. But the dark twists and turns are influenced by all the Christopher Pike novels I read growing up.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

This was my second NaNoWriMo, and I found it much tougher the second time, so my local NaNo group kept me going when I really wanted to quit.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Even though searching for a killer is a dark subject, I approach it with a light tone and lots of humor. Plus, there's romance. There's always gotta be romance. :-)

Thank you for making it this far in reading about my WIP. Now I need to go get crackin' on finishing the rewrite so there is an actual book for people to read!

And I never tag other people in these things, so if you haven't had a chance to brag about your baby yet and want to, then consider yourself tagged!

ETA: By special request I'm tagging Yve at Lazidaisical - I can't wait to find out what she's working on!

Did you (or are you going to) participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop? If so, leave me the link to the post so I can find out more about your book.

Dark Forest photo credit to topfer.

Just Another Manic Monday

This Monday is actually more manic than usual, since there's a lot to report in this post, so pull up a Barcalounger and get comfy.

First of all, I’m honored to be interviewed today over at Nerdy Chicks Rule. I met head nerdy chick Kami Kinard a few years ago at a SCBWI writers conference, and I love that she’s celebrating the characteristics that made us nerdy gals feel different and awkward while growing up. The Nerdy Chicks are giving away a DVD copy of my short film Saying Goodbye, so click here for a chance to win.

Second, we’ve finally got the post up about the Rish sibling adventures at the DC Shorts Film Festival last weekend, so pop over to our High Heels & Hoodoo website for the scoop, including pictures of us with our bright pink high heel.  

#writemotivation

 

And since it’s Monday, that means it’s time for a #writemotivation update. I did manage two posts for the week *yay*, I made solid progress reviewing my critique partner’s novel *whoo hoo*, but as for my own WIP . . . *hangs head in shame*. At least I still have two more weeks to make some significant headway before September comes to an all-to-quick end.  

 

Genre Favorites BlogfestFinally, I signed up for Alex Cavanaugh’s Genre Favorites Blogfest where we’re supposed to list of our favorite genre of Movie, Music, Books, and a guilty pleasure genre from any of the three categories, so here we go:

Favorite movie genre – Horror  This is the easiest of the bunch. I’ve loved horror movies since I was too young to be watching horror movies. It's a total rush to feel scared - adrenaline flowing, heart pumping, stomach churning - while sitting perfectly safe and sound on the couch. I especially love the horror flicks that skillfully create tension and suspense, while also providing a few laughs. Luckily my brother has been my partner in horror – we’ve watched a (probably alarming) number of really terrible horror movies to find the hidden gems. We’re now working on several feature-length scripts so we can make our own horror movie. High Heels & Hoodoo was our attempt to explore filming at night and creating a spooky atmosphere in short form.

Favorite music genre – Varies  I listen to and enjoy so many different genres of music: pop, rock, soul, country, 80s, 50s, classical, showtunes, etc. It really just depends on my mood and what I'm doing. Right now I’m listening to my Pandora station of angsty British chicks – Adele, Florence + The Machine, Duffy, etc.

Favorite book genre – YA Thriller  I know YA is sometimes considered to be a genre of its own, but I think it’s more like a category that then has all the same genres as “big people books.”  So I’m a fan of thrillers in general, but especially YA thrillers. Emotions are already so heightened in teens and putting them in dangerous situations sends the vicarious thrills through the roof.

Guilty pleasure genre – Urban Fantasy books  Vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other supernatural creatures wielding magic in a world that appears to be like ours? Awesome! And even better if there are sexy times. Lots and lots of sexy times.

Whew, I think that’s enough random information from me for one day. If you’ve made it this far, thank you for sticking with me. And extra special thanks to Alex for the fun blogfest!

How are you doing with your #writemotivation goals? Are you participating in Alex’s Genre Favorites Blogfest?  If yes, I’ll be visiting your blog soon to see your picks; and if not, feel free to share your favorite genres in the comments.

#writemotivation photo credit to Hugh Lee and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop

My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop.In my wanderings around the interwebs, I stumbled across a blog hop happening this marvelous first day of summer called the My So-Called Teenage Life Blog Hop.  It’s being hosted by Christa Desir and Amy Sonnichsen and we’re supposed to “Dust off those old sappy journals or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry” and pick something to share.

It sounded like so much fun I decided to participate.  Just one problem – I didn’t keep a journal in high school.  I know that probably puts me in the minority of writers in general, but especially YA writers.  I think I spent so much of my time reading books and living fictional adventures that it never occurred to me to think deep thoughts about my own super boring life.

I did write a few poems, although none of those angsty, yearning, romantic sonnets or deep, philosophical, navel-gazing poems from me.  Instead, my masterpiece was a spoof of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.  We had to memorize Jabberwocky one year, and it’s now the only poem I can still recite in full, which is strange considering all the bizarre words.  Anyway, at some point I rewrote Jabberwocky as Jabberflu-y.  I remember being mighty pleased with myself when I wrote it, and it still makes me smile when I think about it because it was so fun and silly.  I'm not sure it really fits the blog hop theme since it doesn't have Angela Chase-type teen angst, but it is a peak into how my weirdo adolescent mind worked.  
 
Unfortunately, I looked in all the likely hiding places, but I couldn’t find it.  I hope it’s in storage because the world should not be deprived of the awesomeness that was Jabberflu-y.  But in another instance of my brain retaining the most random stuff, I do remember parts of it.  So since I signed up to share my teen writing, I’ll post the parts I can recall.  And I’m certain the sections I’ve forgotten were the truly hysterical parts that practically sang with their mastery of language. 
 
Jabberflu-y
 
‘Twas feverish and the snotty nose
Did run and dribble down the face
Beware the Jabberflu, my son!
The body that aches, the eyes that itch!
A-choo! A-choo! Bless you, bless you!
The clogged up lungs went hacka-hack!
He felt dead with his stuffed head
And collapsed upon his back.
 
“And hast thou caught the Jabberflu?
Come to my arms, my poor sick boy!
Drink your OJ, you’ll get better I pray!”
 
And that’s all my creaky ol’ brain can muster up - although I’m kind of impressed since it’s more than twenty years later.  I actually wouldn’t be that upset if my brain decided to relinquish that particular hard drive space to, oh I don’t know, remembering where I put my keys.
 
Did you keep a journal or write poetry when you were a teen?  If so, what do you think when you read it now?  If not, do you wish you had kept one?